In an astonishing development Cllr Pervez Choudhry, leader of the Conservative councillors at Slough Borough Council for the past year, was arrested on Monday this week.
Cllr Choudhry was charged for allegedly marrying his second wife, while legally married to his first wife - the mother of his reported 3 children.
52 year old Cllr Choudhry, of Tuns Lane, Slough, is believed to live also in
the Solihul area of West Midlands, told our reporter he strongly denies the claims.
When charged by the police, Cllr Choudhry told the Slough Times he had
The story first emerged about 9 months earlier with rumours, spread by Slough Labour Party, that Cllr Choudhry had been arrested by police. At that time a charming and confident Cllr Choudhry denied the hot gossip circulating in Slough's political circles.
The latest development was announced on the Slough Observer's web site timed Tuesday, 3rd August, 2010 4:50pm. Within 7 minutes the same announcement appeared on the Slough Express' web site.
Sources claim - but there are no supporting facts - that Thames Valley Police officers at Slough Police Station informed Slough Council's chief executive Ruth Bagley who relayed the information to the local Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart who relayed the information to Labour councillors who immediately alerted the local newspapers. The photograph of Cllr Choudhry, which appeared in many newspapers and on web sites, was issued by Labour controlled Slough Borough Council.
When the news broke, Cllr Choudhry told his Conservative colleagues he should resign until the pending court case had finished. Local Tory president Cllr Peter Dale-Gough rejected Cllr Choudhry's offer but enemies within Slough Council's 9 member Tory Group were aghast and bitterly complained to national party headquarters. By Wednesday it was announced the national Tories wanted Cllr Choudhry to go and advised fellow Conservative councillors to shun him.
When told he had to leave the Conservatives or be sacked, Cllr Choudhry resigned from the council's Tory group, the town's Conservative Association and the Conservative Party. Temporary replacement Tory group leader Cllr Dale-Gough told reporters the Conservatives expected ousted Cllr Choudhry to sit alone in the council chamber, isolated from all his former Conservative colleagues, but still expected to vote in support of the Conservatives. A disillusioned cynic would tend to think Cllr Choudhry and the other 40 councillors comprising Slough Borough Council should be voting for the public's real interests and not for political reasons.
The Slough's Political People web page shows Cllr Pervez Choudhry as a Labour councillor for Chalvey ward 2002-2008 and a successful Labour candidate for Slough's Central ward in 2008. However as soon as elected as a Labour councillor in May 2008, Cllr Choudhry and his fellow Labour councillors Suki Dhaliwal (Farnham ward) and Mohammed Rasib (Chalvey ward) defected to the Conservatives and joined the council's Tory Group.
Slough's prospective parliamentary Conservative candidate Cllr Diana Coad, second wife of Tory Cllr Peter Dale-Gough, jubilantly claimed responsibility for the Labour defections but Suki Dhaliwal and Mohammed Rasib soon returned to Labour amid allegations Labour had offered them bribes such as a place on the European Parliament ballot form and a large house. Cllr Mrs Dhaliwal was a Labour candidate at the 2009 Euro elections and Cllr Mr Rasib did move houses. Obviously these are unlinked coincidences.
While a Labour councillor, Pervez Choudhry was the victim of Nazi taunts from fellow Independent Britwell (IBR) councillor Pat Shine who claimed Cllr Choudhry was behaving like Hitler during a council meeting in December 2007. Cllr Shine stood-up, raise his arm in a Nazi salute and addressed Cllr Choudhry with 'Sieg Heil'. Other councillors were shocked.
Cllr Choudhry has been charged with breaching the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, section 57 Bigamy. The old law is also known as 1861 c.100 (Regnal. 24 & 25 Vict)
Offence may be dealt with where offender shall be apprehended. Not to extend to second marriages, &c. herein stated.
Whosoever, being married, shall marry any other person during the life of the former husband or wife, whether the second marriage shall have taken place in England or Ireland or elsewhere, shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude for any term not exceeding seven years:
Provided, that nothing in this section contained shall extend to any second marriage contracted elsewhere than in England and Ireland by any other than a subject of Her Majesty, or to any person marrying a second time whose husband or wife shall have been continually absent from such person for the space of seven years then last past, and shall not have been known by such person to be living within that time, or shall extend to any person who, at the time of such second marriage, shall have been divorced from the bond of the first marriage, or to any person whose former marriage shall have been declared void by the sentence of any court of competent jurisdiction.
In 1923, one year after the creation of the Irish Free State (which required the Irish to swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown), this law, the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, was amended by S.R. & O. 1923/405 (Rev. X, p.298: 1923, p.400), art. 2 to redefine 'Ireland' for the purposes of this law as the 6 counties of the 32 counties of Ireland commonly known as British administered 'Northern Ireland' which is effectively the last British Colony In Europe. The Isle of Mann, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar have a different legal status.
This becomes intriguing because section 68 of the Act states:
68 : Offences committed within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty.
All indictable offences mentioned in this Act which shall be committed within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty of England or Ireland shall be liable to the same punishments, as if they had been committed upon the land in England or Ireland.
Now that Ireland, in this Act, means only Northern Ireland, where Oh where is the Northern Ireland Admiralty these days ? Drinking tea, with a tot of rum, in their ships parked in Belfast Harbour ? What is the jurisdiction of the Northern Ireland Admiralty ? Is there really a Northern Ireland Admiralty in existence ?
This Act of an ancient Parliament needs replacing.
Here are the Slough Times thoughts on what the prosecution (CPS) has to prove for a fair trial in cases of Bigamy said to have been committed outside England, Wales and Northern Ireland in places like Scotland, Ireland, France, Japan and the USA et cetera.
These tests are likely to apply to any person accused of Bigamy providing they did not marry their subsequent spouse either in Northern Ireland or in England.